The metabolism pyramid

The four factors with the greatest influence on your metabolism

I'm sure you've heard the word metabolism, probably too many times, but do you know what it consists of?

You don't need a degree in biochemistry or nutrition, but by knowing the four factors that have the greatest impact on metabolism, you can use this to your advantage.

But first of all, it's important to know, what is a calorie?

Calorie is a unit of measurement, more precisely, it is the amount of heat needed to raise 1 gram of water 1º C.

Everyone has a different calorie need, so there is no global measurement.


Metabolism pyramid

The pyramid is made up of:

  • BMR – Basal metabolic rate
  • NEAT (+NEPA) – Non-exercise activity thermogenesis
  • TEA – Thermic effect of physical activity
  • TEF – Thermic effect of food

Basal metabolic rate – BMR

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the number of calories an individual burns daily at rest, just enough to breathe, reason and survive.

If we have to give weight to this pyramid factor, it is around 60% of our daily caloric expenditure.

This value is directly associated with body weight, body composition, gender, age and genetics.

Inevitably, generally speaking, a larger body has a higher BMR.

Generally, this is the reason why women have a lower calorie need than men.


Non-exercise activity thermogenesis – NEAT

NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Expenditure) is the number of calories burned to remain stable, whether typing on Facebook or carrying out other activities that are not directly related to physical exercise.

If we include NEPA (Non effort physical activity) in this category, it is possible to consider activities such as walking the dog, cleaning the house, etc.

It should be noted that this is highly variable, both from day to day and from person to person.


Thermal effect of physical activity – TEA

TEA (Thermogenic Effect of Activity) is the number of calories burned during exercise.

Normally, based on our case, these are calories lost during cardiovascular training sessions or weight training.

The amount of energy expended in TEA is clearly dependent on the duration and intensity of the training.


Thermic effect of food – TEF

It may come as a surprise to some, but yes, we also burn calories while we eat.

Digestion is an active metabolic process.

Who has never felt hot or sweaty after a large meal? Especially after large amounts of protein.

This TEF (Thermogenic Effect of Food) factor represents around 5-10% of our daily caloric expenditure.

You can find some more information about this phenomenon here.

In view of the above, let's now consider all the variables.

Energy consumed = BMR + NEAT + TEA + TEF

There are people who tend to minimize the bills, with the theory that the law of thermodynamics is simple, just subtract the calories ingested from the calories expended.

As you can see, predicting our caloric expenditure is a more complex process than what we are often led to believe.

Why does basal metabolism differ between individuals?

Each person burns a certain number of calories per day, this value being made up of the basal metabolic rate (BMR), thermic effect of physical activity (TEA), thermogenesis of non-exercise activity (NEAT) and the thermic effect of food (TEF).

Therefore, there is no point trying to find the perfect formula, nor the magic calculator, to find your number of necessary maintenance calories.

The most efficient way to do this is to monitor, as best as possible, your NEAT, TEA and estimated BMR, and in addition, your total calories, in order to find approximately your maintenance calories.

To make it easier to understand the immeasurable difference, a person with an extremely active job can burn up to 500 more calories per day, compared to a person with a sedentary job.

And now, what to do with this information?

Basically, by understanding how your body works, you can monitor what happens daily in more detail.

Normally, the people who pay the most attention to these details are people in the fat loss phase.

For these people, here are some tips that may be useful.

  • BMR will inevitably fall.
    It’s the body’s way of defending itself against calorie restriction.
  • NEAT will tend to decrease, due to calorie restriction and extra tiredness, and it is normal to rest more.
    Here the proposal is to lift as many times as possible, consuming the greatest number of calories, which do not create fatigue like that which already exists in ASD.
  • People tend to focus on increasing the calorie deficit by increasing TEA in the form of cardiovascular exercise, or exercise/metabolic circuits.
    It may be a bad idea, considering that if there is no monitoring and management of fatigue, the tendency may be to lower BMR and NEAT.
  • To guarantee the most efficient TEF, always focus on plenty of protein.
    In addition to being extremely important for maintaining muscle mass at this stage, it contributes to higher TEF values.

[toggle title=”Bibliography” state=”close” ]Energetic balance

Article written by Team Sik Nutrition

[author image=”” ]Team Sik Nutrition is a recent group of people passionate about the world of Fitness. The Team's focus is to guide, educate and motivate those interested in achieving their health and fitness/performance goals. All this sharing is based on scientific facts and the experience of Team members.

The CEO of Team Sik Nutrition is João Gonçalves. Amateur powerlifter, passionate about Fitness and writing articles.

Facebook Team Sik Nutrition

Team Sik Nutrition website


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top